Tag Archives: ayrshire

Porridge The Tartan Cat Series – launching Feb 2017

I know I really should have been blogging this year but most of my time has been spent writing an exciting new 6 book series for Floris Books, a large publisher based in Scotland.

The Series: 
Each story stars a member of the McFun family. Gadget Grandad, Groovy Gran, Mini Mum, Dino Dad, Roaring Ross and Invisible Sister. Nothing is ever what it seems in this fantastic family. Everyone has a surprising secret – and a knack of getting into trouble. Luckily, Porridge is around to lend a helping paw and save the day. All it takes is courage and a box of brain-boosting Fishy Biscuits.

The first two books come out in February 2017. Here’s the cover for:

“Porridge The Tartan Cat and the Brawsome Bagpipes”

It’s brilliantly illustrated by Yuliya Somina, who has illustrated for Bill Bryson’s bestseller ‘A Really Short History Of Nearly Everything’.


That’s the cover. Here’s a quick summary of the story:

Gadget Grandad does nothing on Sundays. Me-yawn. However, Porridge and the McFun twins soon discover he spends the rest of the week doing incredible things – like Walter ski-ing with a shark called Walter, or catching sneaky Scotch Pies (spies). All the while, mouldy old Fergus McFungus is stealing ingredients to cook up a secret secret recipe for disaster. Can anyone (anycat) stop him from destroying the world and volcanoes and fishy biscuits and elephants!”


The other book being launched is:

“Porridge The Tartan Cat and the Bash-Crash-Ding”

Here’s what it’s about:

Groovy Gran was once in a band called The Tattie Scones, but it split in mysterious circumstances many years ago. Porridge, the twins and Groovy Gran go on a mission to reunite the band members and put on a special one-off Big Gig. Unfortunately the dastardly Dug o Doom is on the prowl, trying to thwart their every move. Porridge is determined to save the day – and the show. Claws-crossed it will end with a fantastic Bash-Crash-Ding!




I’ve seen the illustrations so far and they look very impressive. Energetic, fun and just right to capture the imagination of 6 to 8 year old readers. That said, there is enough word-play and imaginative quirkiness for grown-ups to enjoy too.

Well, I’d better crack on. More stories to write. I’ll post more thoughts and exciting news later.

Catch me on Twitter: Alan Dapre On Twitter

or Facebook: Alan Dapre on Facebook


G is for Garden and Guilt

This week I’ve been looking at the garden. It is much improved with a new decking area (relocated and rebuilt over two weeks) and a new fence. The fence was meant to be an easy job – just me moving it back a few metres so my daughter could have a place for her bike riding. I  planned to reuse the wood and fix in new posts. The wood was however rotten and full of rusty nails so I had to buy loads more planks – in the end there were just 4 original ones out of 50.

Fence - before & after  ©Alan Dapre

Fence – before & after
©Alan Dapre

The decking is now halfway down the garden, most of it reused. It was a slow job to get the nails out and the decking rebuilt and repainted. (The patio by the house still needs to be done but that’s a job for the professionals.)

Decking - before & after ©Alan Dapre

Decking – before & after
©Alan Dapre

You’re seeing the garden on a sunny day – it rained all the time I was working outside. It was so wet I managed to get chilblains and the doctor described my manky toes as an early stage of trench foot. Nice. Not something my wife cares to talk about.

Oh, don’t mention the pebbles either. Each one was lifted, washed, transported and relaid… a job of doom!

After all my DIY I gave up with the garden to concentrate on my writing and illustrating – but the weeds kept on nagging me, waving silently through the window. I vowed I’d get outside on the next sunny day – hoping that it wouldn’t be for a month.

The next morning it was glorious sunshine. 🙁 So for the past three days I’ve been outside weeding, chopping back the lawn and putting in new edging. That was just the left side of the garden.

Today I started on the right side, battling Mare’s Tail (an evil prehistoric plant that goes down ten foot and spreads like the plague. One tiny piece will replicate Borg-like. The only way to kill it is a nuclear attack. Actually, I have been pinching its stem with my nail and crushing the waxy leaves, then spraying with glyphosate. Seems to work. Other people suggest wearing a sock over a plastic glove and wetting the sock in weedkiller then crushing the leaves. Both ways take ages!)

I came in feeling virtuous but I’m left with the nagging guilt that the straggly grass needs mowing. A neat, trimmed lawn lessens the chances of our dog leaving cow-pat sized booby-traps all over the place – ready to explode as the mower blade spins over them.

Our lawn is a big unforgiving sprawl of grass, dandelions, daisies, creeping buttercup and moss. I am trying to contain the spread of mare’s tail & some unknown ramrod straight plant that spikes upwards from deep underground at warp speed. Our last house had a garden a quarter of the size and in the house before that it was a postage stamp. I had that one licked.

Coming up to Scotland, we chose a larger garden because we had a child on the way. Yes, the garden is great for kids. Not great for someone who prefers the call of the great indoors. In some ways I do like the garden. You could say this Summer it’s growing on me. But does it have to grow so fast? I suppose that’s what comes from living in rainy Ayrshire on the West coast of Scotland. Och, everything is lush and green.

Ah well, it’s a lovely evening…

Hang on – what’s that dog doing?


UPDATE: Just got back in from mowing the lawn. Guilt is such a terrible thing.
Hmm – so is dog poo.